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Concerto DSCH and Carmina Burana

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Here is the press release

Carmina Burana

May 29 – June 7, 2015
Marion Oliver McCaw Hall
321 Mercer Street at Seattle Center
Seattle, WA 98109

May 29-30 & June 4-6 at 7:30pm
May 29 at 2:00pm
June 7 at 1:00pm

SEATTLE, WA – PNB closes its 2014-2015 season with CARMINA BURANA, a dynamic duo of repertory works. Set to Shostakovich’s galvanic score, Alexei Ratmansky’s crowd-pleasing Concerto DSCH, an “endlessly suspenseful construction [with] passages of breathtaking dance brilliance” (New York Times) dazzles the eyes and ears with its playful, propulsive energy and glimpses of storytelling. In Kent Stowell's primal Carmina Burana, a grand-scale synthesis of dance, chorus, and orchestra, the famous cantata’s poems materialize as the entire Company unites song and score for a jubilant communal experience under Carmina scenic designer Ming Cho Lee’s colossal golden wheel. The program also includes a musical prelude to shine the spotlight on the world famous PNB Orchestra, currently celebrating its 25th Anniversary. CARMINA BURANA runs for seven performances only, May 29 through June 7 at Seattle Center’s Marion Oliver McCaw Hall. Tickets start at $30 and may be purchased by calling 206.441.2424, in person at the PNB Box Office at 301 Mercer Street, or online at PNB.org.


Orchestra Prelude
Music: Aaron Copland (“Hoe Down” from Rodeo, 1942)
Running Time: Three minutes

Pacific Northwest Ballet salutes the mighty PNB Orchestra as it celebrates its 25th Anniversary, with an orchestral selection to spotlight our acclaimed musicians in the pit, and beef on the grill.

Concerto DSCH

Music: Dmitri Shostakovich (Concerto No. 2 in F Major, Op. 102, 1957)

Choreography: Alexei Ratmansky

Staging: Tatiana Ratmansky

Costume Design: Holly Hynes

Lighting Design: Mark Stanley

Running Time: 20 minutes

Premiere: May 29, 2008; New York City Ballet Pacific Northwest Ballet Premiere: March 18, 2011

The 2011 PNB premiere of Alexei Ratmansky’s Concerto DSCH was generously underwritten by Peter & Peggy Horvitz.

Alexei Ratmansky first made an international impact with fresh, invigorating re-inventions of two 1930s Shostakovich ballets for the Bolshoi Ballet, where he was artistic director from 2004 to 2008. He was soon invited to create works for New York City Ballet, where he seemed poised to become resident choreographer. But in a surprising move, American Ballet Theatre snapped him up; he became the company’s Artist in Residence in January 2009. His works now grace the repertories of both companies.

Because of his demonstrated affinity for the robustly colorful music of Dmitri Shostakovich in The Bright Stream—and the strong reports about Bolt, another long-forgotten 1930s ballet by the composer that Ratmansky brought back to life for the Bolshoi—there was much to anticipate when Ratmansky chose another Shostakovich score for his second NYCB creation. Concerto DSCH, which had its premiere in May 2008, proved to be one of the most original and impressive new ballets in many a year, one that reveals new surprises and insights on each viewing. Ratmansky displays a degree of musical sophistication in this work that is breathtaking. All of its many pleasures—whirlwind bravura, unexpected ensemble patterns, eloquently nuanced partnering, and effortless yet sophisticated craftsmanship—spring with amazing naturalness from the score. One can almost sense a choreographer and composer collaborating across the decades.

Concerto DSCH is set to Shostakovich’s Concerto No. 2 in F Major, Op. 102. (The “DSCH” of the ballet’s title refers to a musical motif of four notes that form an abbreviation of the composer's name when written in German.) The concerto was a birthday gift for his 19-year-old son Maksim, who was the soloist at its premiere, and youthful energy is certainly in evidence in its brisk, playful first and third movements, while its central Andante evokes longing and nostalgia. Ratmansky’s choreography is filled with playful camaraderie in the outer movements, turning reflective and quietly haunting in the middle movement. The richness of invention is such that one cannot immediately take in all the unexpected and witty ways in which Ratmansky deploys his ensemble. Costumed to evoke swimmers or athletes of an earlier era, they weave in and out of patterns that constantly redefine the stage picture. The principal couple alternates—and entertainingly interacts—with a bounding, frisky trio during the outer movements, and turn contemplative for their extended duet in the second movement.

There are delicate evocations of Jerome Robbins’ works in the natural way the dancers present themselves and relate to each other. For all of its virtuosic demands, the ballet also suggests real people and their encounters. Competitiveness, jealousy, wistfulness, and much more, are seamlessly evoked. As New York Times critic Alastair Macaulay wrote, “There seems no end to the human detail that’s woven through the piece.”

(Excerpted notes © Susan Reiter, 2011)

Born in St. Petersburg, Alexei Ratmansky trained at the Bolshoi Ballet School in Moscow. He was a principal dancer with the Ukrainian National Ballet, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and Royal Danish Ballet. As a choreographer, Mr. Ratmansky has created ballets for Dutch National Ballet (including Don Quixote), Kirov Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, Royal Swedish Ballet, New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, and the State Ballet of Georgia. His 1998 work, Dreams of Japan, earned a prestigious Golden Mask Award by the Theatre Union of Russia. In 2003, Mr. Ratmansky was invited to mount a full-length ballet, The Bright Stream, at the Bolshoi Theatre, a production which would win for him the appointment of Bolshoi Theatre artistic director in 2004. For the Bolshoi Ballet, he also choreographed full-length productions of The Bolt (2005) and re-staged Le Corsaire (2007) and the Soviet-era Flames of Paris (2008). Under Mr. Ratmansky’s direction, the Bolshoi Ballet was named “Best Foreign Company” in 2005 and 2007 by The Critics’ Circle in London, and he received a Critics’ Circle National Dance Award for The Bright Stream. In 2005, Mr. Ratmansky was awarded the Benois de la Danse prize for his choreography of Anna Karenina for Royal Danish Ballet, and in 2007, he won a Golden Mask Award for Best Choreographer for his production of Jeu de Cartes for the Bolshoi Ballet. During his Bolshoi tenure, Mr. Ratmansky also created works for New York City Ballet and the Royal Danish Ballet. Since joining American Ballet Theatre as Artist in Residence in 2009, Mr. Ratmansky has created On the Dnieper, Waltz Masquerade, Seven Sonatas, Dumbarton, The Nutcracker, and a new full length The Sleeping Beauty for that company. Other recentpremieres include Psyché for Paris Opera Ballet, The Firebird at ABT, and a new Romeo and Juliet for National Ballet of Canada.

Carmina Burana

Music: Carl Orff (1937)

Choreography: Kent Stowell

Scenic Design: Ming Cho Lee

Costume Design: Theoni V. Aldredge and Larae Theige Hascall

Lighting Design: Randall G. Chiarelli
Soprano Soloists: Maria Mannisto and Christina Siemens
Tenor Soloists: Zach Finkelstein and Marcus Shelton
Baritone Soloist: Weston Hurt

Featuring The Tudor Choir and Pacific Lutheran University Choral Union

Running Time: 70 minutes Premiere: October 5, 1993; Pacific Northwest Ballet

Pacific Northwest Ballet Founding Artistic Director Kent Stowell’s magnificent rendering of Carl Orff’s 1937 musical cantata, Carmina Burana, has been an audience favorite since its premiere in 1993. Uniting sets, costumes, chorus, soloists, dancers, and choreography in a multi-media visualization of Orff’s primal score, Stowell’s Carmina Burana is that “total theater” which Orff dreamed might cut across social, educational, and temporal boundaries to engage audiences in a powerful communal experience.

For his text, Orff turned to a collection of irreverent medieval songs and poems discovered in 1803 at the Bavarian monastery of Benediktbeuren. Hence, Carmina Burana, or “Songs of Beuren.” In these profane lyrics of minstrels and monks long dead, Orff heard clearly the voice of the human condition, with its indestructible hunger for the sensual pleasures of the world persisting through the capricious turns of Fortune’s wheel. Setting this text to music of primitive force rivaled in our time only by Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, Orff married the medieval and the modern in a timeless vision of humanity’s vitality and endurance.

That musical vision takes on corporeal life in PNB’s production. Scenic designer Ming Cho Lee’s massive golden wheel of Fortune dominates the world of the ballet, as does musically the hymn to the goddess Fortuna, which opens and closes Orff’s score and frames all the various songs between. Beneath the wheel, subject to its rule, the dancers—cast as ragged everymen, lusty country revelers, debauched tavern-haunters (including clerics fallen from grace), and aristocratic celebrants—express the indomitable yearning for fulfillment in love that persists no matter what life deals us. Within each grouping and, reflecting the medieval interest in numerology as a key to divine order, Stowell has choreographed patterns based on the number twelve, thereby subtly reinforcing the experience of cosmic forces beyond human control. But, for all the limits placed upon our lives, Stowell suggests (through recurring contrasts between the clothed and the naked) that the first relationship in paradise, though it eludes us in this fallen world, informs our fantasies and may be experienced by us in moments of grace.

(Notes by Jeanie Thomas)

Kent Stowell was Artistic Director and principal choreographer of Pacific Northwest Ballet from 1977 until his retirement in June 2005. Mr. Stowell began his dance training with Willem Christensen at the University of Utah, later joining San Francisco Ballet. He joined New York City Ballet in 1962 and was promoted to soloist in 1963. In 1970, he joined the Munich Opera Ballet as a leading dancer and choreographer. In 1973, Mr. Stowell was appointed ballet master and choreographer of Frankfurt Ballet, and he was named, with Francia Russell, Co-Artistic Director of the company in 1975. In 1977, Mr. Stowell and Ms. Russell were appointed Artistic Directors of Pacific Northwest Ballet. In addition to Carmina Burana, his many contributions to the repertory include Swan Lake, Cinderella, Nutcracker, Firebird, The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, Hail to the Conquering Hero, Carmen, and Silver Lining. In 2001, the University of Utah honored Mr. Stowell with its Lifetime Achievement Award. His other awards and honors include the Washington State Governor’s Arts Award, the Dance Magazine Award and an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Seattle University. In 2004, Mr. Stowell received the ArtsFund Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Award, the Seattle Mayor's Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement and the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award and was recognized by the King County Council for his achievements in the arts. On June 12, 2010, Mr. Stowell was awarded an honorary Doctor of Arts from the University of Washington.

For full program notes, visit PNB.org.

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Tickets ($30-$184) may be purchased through the PNB Box Office:

  • Phone - 206.441.2424 (Mon.-Fri. 10am–6pm; Sat. 10am–5pm)
  • In Person - 301 Mercer Street, Seattle (Mon.-Fri. 10am–6pm; Sat. 10am–5pm)
  • Online - PNB.org (24/7)

Subject to availability, tickets are also available 90 minutes prior to showtime at McCaw Hall.

Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more. For group tickets, please call Group Sales Manager Julie Jamieson at 206.441.2416, email JulieJ@PNB.org or use PNB’s online contact form at PNB.org/Season/GroupTickets.

Friday, June 5 at 7:30 pm

Join members of PNB’s Young Patrons Circle (YPC) in an exclusive lounge for complimentary wine and coffee before the show and at intermission. YPC is PNB’s social and educational group for ballet patrons ages 21 through 39. YPC members save up to 40% off their tickets. For more information, visit PNB.org and search for “YPC.”

All Thursday and Friday performances: May 29, June 4 & 5 at 7:30 pm

One ticket for $15 or two for $25 for patrons 25 years and younger! To purchase tickets, contact the PNB Box Office at 206.441.2424 or visit 301 Mercer Street. This offer is good for the May 29, June 4 and 5 performances only. Offer is subject to availability and not valid on previously purchased tickets. Each attendee must present valid ID upon ticket retrieval.


PNB is a proud participant of Seattle Center’s Teen Tix program. Young people 13 to 19 years old can purchase tickets to PNB performances and other music, dance, theater and arts events for only $5. To join Teen Tix or view a list of participating organizations, visit teentix.org.

Subject to availability, half-price rush tickets for students and senior citizens (65+) may be purchased in-person with ID, beginning 90 minutes prior to show time at the McCaw Hall box office.


Friday, May 15, 6:00 pm
The Phelps Center, 301 Mercer Street, Seattle

Join PNB for an hour-long dance preview led by Artistic Director Peter Boal and featuring Company dancers rehearsing excerpts from CARMINA BURANA. PNB Friday Previews offer an upbeat and up-close view of the Company preparing to put dance on stage. Tickets are $12 each. (These events often sell out in advance.) Friday Previews are sponsored by U.S. Bank.

Tuesday, May 26, 12:00 noon
Central Seattle Public Library, 1000 Fourth Avenue, Seattle

Join PNB for a free lunch-hour preview lecture at the Central Seattle Public Library. Education Programs Manager Doug Fullington will offer insights about CARMINA BURANA complete with video excerpts. FREE of charge.

Thursday, May 28, 2015
Lecture 6:00 pm, Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at McCaw Hall
Dress Rehearsal 7:00 pm, McCaw Hall

Join PNB Artistic Director Peter Boal for an engaging discussion during the hour preceding the dress rehearsal. Attend the lecture only or stay for the rehearsal. Tickets are $12 for the lecture, or $30 for the lecture and dress rehearsal. Tickets may be purchased by calling 206.441.2424, online at PNB.org or in person at the PNB Box Office at 301 Mercer Street.

Friday, May 29 at 7:30 pm

PNB partners with 98.1 Classical KING FM to bring listeners some of the world’s most popular scores, featuring the mighty Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra performing live, direct from McCaw Hall. Tune in to KING FM to listen to the Opening Night performance of CARMINA BURANA on Friday, May 29 at 7:30 pm. Only on 98.1 fm or online at king.org/listen.

Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at McCaw Hall

Join Education Programs Manager Doug Fullington for a 30-minute introduction to each performance, including discussions of choreography, music, history, design and the process of bringing CARMINA BURANA to the stage. One hour before performances. FREE for ticketholders.

Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at McCaw Hall

Skip the post-show traffic and enjoy a Q&A with Artistic Director Peter Boal and PNB dancers, immediately following each performance. FREE for ticketholders.

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I like it too, but I'm not in favor of it being more than an occasional thing. Why not? Because I think it confuses the audience.

Remember what happened on opening night of the Forsthye rep? The orchcestral interlude was between the 1st and 2nd ballet. The lights come half up, and the orchestra started its thing. The audience seemed to think it was a pause and started talking which got louder and louder as the orchestra played on....becoming little more than background elevator music. I noted that in the very next performance, Peter Boal came out on stage between ballet 1 and 2 and made a couple of announcements including that the orchestra would next play a musical interlude celebrating it's 25th anniversary. That worked. And indeed for every performance of the Forsythe rep after that such an announcement was required.

P.S. Having said that....certainly preludes work better than interludes; but I still think that many (most?) in the audience think that the orchcestral prelude is somehow an overture to the 1st ballet.

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Or you could say that 1. They solved the problem and 2. The more the audience sees it, the more the audience will expect it.

I think the issue is that too many people don't care about the music unless there is movement to it. Many people don't shut up when a ballet overture is playing: they think it's background noise while they finish their conversations.

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I agree with you both. Sandy, you remember correctly -- the audience was restive during the interlude on opening night, in part because they left the house lights up. And Helene, I think everyone has noticed that overtures are becoming something like the warning chimes "the dancing is going to start any moment now" But the solution is not to axe the overture -- it's to remind the audience that it's a part of the performance. I think that continuing to program preludes during the mixed rep shows is a step in that direction.

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Thanks for the link -- I'm really looking forward to seeing this Ratmansky again (after managing to get to San Francisco to see the Shostakovich triple bill)

For some reason, it reminded me of La Boutique Fantasque. Not sure that will hold this time, but I'll find out!

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First weekend casting is up.

Three dancers who weren't in "Swan Lake" are cast for this rep. Maria Chapman is scheduled for opening night "Cours d'amour" in "Carmina Burana," and the Saturday matinee PDD in "Concerto DSCH." Kiyon Gaines is cast in "O Fortuna" on Friday and Saturday night and "In Taberna" on the Saturday matinee. William Lin-Yee is scheduled for "O Fortuna" on Friday and the Saturday matinee and "In Taberna" on Saturday night.


"Carmina Burana"

  • "O Fortuna": Kiyon Gaines, Elizabeth Murphy and William Lin-Yee (Friday night), and Leta Biasucci, Dylan Wald, and Steven Loch (Saturday matinee)
  • "Primo Vere": Rachel Foster (Friday night) and Steven Loch (Satuday night)
  • "In Taberna:: Seth Orza (Friday night) and Kiyon Gaines and Laura Tisserand (Saturday matinee)

Here's the spreadsheet:

DSCH Carmina Casting Week 1.xlsx

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Thanks so much for the spreadsheet -- I was beginning to wonder who was dancing what.

Am so glad to see that Gaines will be back for the last of the season. I know he'll still be with the company, but I will miss his presence on stage. And glad to see Chapman back in the lineup as well.

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Loch has gotten lots this year and has been stellar. He was as much of a revelation in the Conrad Ludlow role in "Emeralds" partnering Margaret Mullin as he was in the Forsythe "New Suite", and he was equally impressive in the Act I Pas de Trois solos and the Act III Czardas in the April "Swan Lake" run. He shows remarkable stylistic versatility for someone so young.

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Maria Chapman was the guest at the Q&A tonight. She spoke about being a mom to daughter Eleanor, and how the day was balanced between diapers and fun things and getting to dance this wonderful part ("Cour d'Amour" in "Carmina Burana") she's been doing for many years, with the chorus, orchestra, and singers. Her daughter is walking (at 10 months) and got excited to see people dancing and wanted to join in. Chapman likes having other moms in the company, and her daughter, Kylee Kitchens' son, and Rachel Foster's daughter were born seven weeks apart (in that order) and they are playing together. She and Boal mentioned that there are some pregnancies in the Development Department, and Chapman remarked that it would be a good job for someone to start a PNB daycare. Her return was delayed because of a separated stomach muscle that took longer to heal than she had hoped.

Chapman was very happy to be back. It was bittersweet, though, because it is the last program that she shared with Carla Korbes. They'd been dressing roommates for nearly a decade.

When asked about the Second Stage program, which she has been part of since its inception (in 1999), she said that Kiyon Gaines just graduated with a degree in arts management at the top of his class. Until this year he took most of his classes through the special program where classes were held at PNB for the dancers, but due to his injury, he went to school full-time, in addition to the work he does managing the "Next Step" program, rehabbing his injury, and coming back for this rep, in which he looked very strong. Congratulations to him flowers.gif

PNB is touring to City Center next season with two programs: the first is an all-Balanchine program of "Square Dance," "Prodigal Son," and "Stravinsky Violin Concerto," and the second is "Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude," "Emergence," and a ballet he didn't name because he's still working on permissions.

As mentioned in a couple of other threads, Peter Boal said that Jahna Frantziskonis is joining San Francisco Ballet, Eric Hipolito Jr. is joining Ballet Arizona, and Raphael Bouchard is "returning to his native Montreal to dance." No confirmation yet on where Charles McCall is going.

In addition to Noelani Pantistico's return, Boal said that the new hires are going into the corps -- no names yet -- and there will be one apprentice. Also, in the program notes, Boal wrote that Ballet West is hiring four Professional Division students. (No mention of rank.)

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I'm happy that New Yorkers will get to see Emergence! Sad to lose Kiyon Gaines (he was very strong in Emergence, BTW). But injuries are a risk to careers of all dancers, and I'm glad he's staying in the arts. I'd like to see PNB take "A Million Little Kisses" and Kiyon Gaines' "Sum Stravinsky" and "Waiting at the Station" to NYC as well. (that final one has a set that may not travel well).

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There is a discount for Thursday and Friday tickets:

(from an email sent by PNB)

Save 25% on Orchestra and Gallery level seats, 20% on First Tier level seats, or 10% on Second Tier level seats. Order now as this offer expires Wednesday at Midnight.

Here's the link to order online:


To order by phone:

call 206.441.2424 and mention “WHEEL” to save.

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